Recently I wrote a wiki article on the SAP Community Network outlining most of the high-level considerations faced by customers who are moving their existing BusinessObjects-on-BW landscape to BW-on-HANA. The intended audience is technical personnel responsible for SAP BI Platform 4.x or SAP BusinessObjects Enterprise XI 3.1.
The wiki article is located at:
The Genesis of the aforementioned wiki was an innocent-seeming series of questions from a large customer with at least 5,000 BusinessObjects users. “We have over 3,800 BusinessObjects Enterprise XI 3.1 public reports based on SAP BW 7.3,” their BI team lead informed me, “And another 20,000 personnel reports on top of that.”
“We are now in the process of moving that BW system from Oracle to HANA,” he continued. “We need to understand the implications for our Web Intelligence and Crystal reports. Do we need to change anything? What BusinessObjects reports might break after the migration?”
The business justification for moving to HANA was compelling. By using HANA instead of Oracle to power BW, the customer expected to realize enormous gains in reporting throughput and performance. Another expectation was that new kinds of statistical analysis could be performed on shopping baskets, to understand the relationships between product SKUs that sold well together or at specific retail outlets. The goal of HANA was not only to enable faster reporting, but to provide the opportunity to mine enormous volumes of retail and operational data to identify hidden linkages that could provide clues about how to make the business more competitive.
However, the new analytic opportunities presented by the HANA project had also raised several technical questions in the customer’s mind, and the stakes were high. The customer relied on the availability of the BusinessObjects platform to help with critical day-to-day operations. An interruption in the SAP reporting services could create a ripple-effect that would impact operations.
As I internally researched the customer’s questions it became clear there were several migration myths to bust. Moving BW to HANA was much more than a “mere database change” in the eyes of the BusinessObjects BI Platform. There were a number of potential implications requiring configuration changes to the Central Management Console, reports, connections, and/or Universes.
Some of the questions the customer raised included:
- For supportability reasons, was it going to be better to upgrade to BI 4.x before moving BW to HANA?
- How would the existing BI landscape cope with a change to the underlying database storing the SAP BW schema? (For example, were the 24,000 existing reports going to ‘survive’ the transition to BW-on-HANA, or would their data connections break?)
- Was moving BW to HANA going to pose a more serious impact to BusinessObjects than what it might seem?
- Would logging into BusinessObjects tools using SAP credentials (secSAPR3), or Single Sign On (SSO), continue to work like before?
- What other non-obvious technical considerations might there be for an existing BI-on-BW infrastructure where BW is moving to HANA?
Embarking on the Journey
I prepared for the customer the information they required to move forward with migrating BW to HANA. Although I was not closely involved in the actual project, I was later informed that major points they needed to consider were covered by my presentation. The customer’s migration to BW-on-HANA was successful with manageable impacts to the SAP BusinessObjects reporting platform that were addressed prior to go-live.
Planning to migrate BW-to-HANA? Review the BI platform implications here.